Publication Details

Michael Kalt testifies before Labor and Employment Committee

Member Advocacy-California, CalSHRM/SHRM Herald Benefits of Workflex in Assembly Hearing

5/2/2014 | Topic: Employment

On April 23, SHRM and California Society for Human Resource Management (CalSHRM) members testified before the California State Assembly Committee on Labor & Employment in support of workplace flexibility for all California employees.

Deb Horne, a member of SHRM’s Member Advisory Council and the immediate past state director of CalSHRM, and Michael Kalt, CalSHRM’s government affairs director, both voiced SHRM and CalSHRM’s strong support for the Workplace Flexibility Act of 2014 (AB 2448).

In brief, AB 2448, authored by Assembly Member Brian Jones (pictured at right conversing with Horne and Kalt), was designed to modernize California’s burdensome wage and hour laws, which include both a weekly, as well as a daily, overtime requirement for individuals working in excess of 40 hours per week or eight hours per day. AB 2448 would allow nonexempt employees in the private sector to request a flexible work schedule providing for workdays up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek, without the obligation of the employer to pay overtime compensation for those additional hours worked in a workday.

In her testimony, Horne focused on the disadvantages that private nonunionized employers face when setting up alternative workweek schedules in California. She emphasized that government agencies are exempt from California’s wage and hour laws and therefore have no restrictions on establishing alternative workweek schedules. Kalt provided a detailed account of the difficult, multi-step process that an employer must comply with in order for employees to elect an alternative workweek schedule. He also emphasized that if an employer makes one mistake during the process, it could render the elected schedule invalid and potentially leave the employer open for litigation. 

Despite Horne and Kalt’s compelling testimony, the bill was voted down in committee on a party line vote. The two Republicans on the committee voted for the bill, while the five Democrats voted against it.

While the bill ultimately failed in committee, the overall experience was another success for SHRM and CalSHRM’s efforts to raise the visibility of the HR profession in California and among lawmakers in Sacramento. The testimony in support of the bill was provided from the HR profession’s perspective—a view that is new to many members of the committee. It also provided an opportunity for SHRM and CalSHRM to foster a good working relationship with Assembly Member Jones, a passionate advocate for workplace flexibility. SHRM and CalSHRM plan to foster this relationship and work with Jones and other members of the legislature on workplace issues of interest to the HR profession.

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